Ave Crux Spes Unica
Ave crux, spes unica is a Latin pious expression meaning “Hail to the Cross, our only hope.”
Come visit and hail the Holy Cross. A relic of it can be found atop Mount Resurrection surrounded by lush greenery at the Mount Resurrection Eco Park in the barangay of Lubigan, Tarlac.
Atop the mountain, the Risen Christ Monastic Community dedicates itself to a life of prayer and solitude.
Pilgrims are welcomed to the Monasterio de Tarlac with a 30-foot statue of Jesus Christ overseeing the mountain range and the lush greenery. Music of monks singing also echo across the monasterio, seemingly welcoming all the pilgrims after their 2-hour-trip-from-Manila and their winding journey up the mountain.
Prior the start of every Holy mass, a brief history of how the relic came to the monasterio is shared: “The monasterio is run by the Servants of the Risen Christ (SRC) Monastic Community, founded by Fr. Ronald Thomas Cortez in 1998. In 2005, Fr. Cortez attended the World Youth Day celebration in Germany, where he met Msgr. Volker Bauer, the custodian of the relic of the Holy Cross At the time, Msgr. Volker was looking for someone to whom he can entrust the relic since the monastic life in Europe is slowly dying. Aware of Fr. Cortez’ Monastic Community in the Philippines, Msgr. Volker entrusted the relic to him. And so in 2005, the holy cross came to the monastery.
The relic authenticated by a papal seal is believed to be part of the cross discovered by Saint Helena in Jerusalem, the mother Emperor Constantine the Great. It was believed that Saint Helena excavated three crosses in Jerusalem which were believed to be the crosses used during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. She brought a woman who was about to die and asked her to touch the first two crosses but nothing happened. When the third cross was touched, the dying woman was healed.”
This story of Saint Helena’s journey in search of the true holy cross is the underlying foundation of the month-long Filipino festival in May honoring the Virgin Mary – known to many as Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo.
On January 30, 2007, this relic of the True Cross of Jesus was enshrined in the chapel dedicated to it by the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency Fernando Filoni, D.D.
A small baroque chapel is built in the middle of the secluded compound by a piazza.
This small chapel serves as the cross’ reliquary as enshrined beneath its chapel’s altar, held by a golden arquetta adorned with religious symbols – is a relic of the Holy Cross. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the golden arquetta after the masses celebrated at 10:30 AM every day and at 3:00 pm on Sundays.
Exposed veneration of the relic of the Holy Cross happens every 19 January to mark its enshrinement anniversary and 14 September in time for the foundation anniversary of the Servants of the Risen Christ.Hundreds of pilgrims flock to the monasterio on these special days and on Holy Week.
After each holy mass, pilgrims are encouraged to explore the monasterio.
I encourage you to explore. Go. Walk around. Pray. Be in awe of His great work. Be grateful. Shout for joy. Feel His loving embrace as you gaze to the mountain side. Heave a sigh of contentment as a gentle breeze blows on your face. Be at peace. Feel loved. Feel very loved.
“For you will go out with joy,
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Roadtrip: Monasterio de Tarlac
Address: Mount Resurrection Eco Park, Barangay Lubigan, Tarlac, Philippines
Telephone Number: TBA
Budget: P50 entrance fee per car
Facebook: @Monasterio de Tarlac